Shrewsbury Town v Scunthorpe United FA Cup preview: Greg Docherty set to lock horns with Rangers pal
In-form Shrewsbury star Greg Docherty is looking to get one over Rangers team-mate Jak Alnwick and Gers legend Stuart McCall tomorrow.
Docherty has already starred in the FA Cup for Town this season and another masterful display – this time against Scunthorpe – could set up a date against a Premier League big boy in round three.
But first the Iron visit Montgomery Waters Meadow in search of a second victory of the season against Salop.
Personal rivalry will be a factor for boyhood Gers fan Docherty, 22, as he targets success against goalkeeper Alnwick, his team-mate at Ibrox Stadium.
In charge of Scunthorpe is McCall, seven years a midfield powerhouse with Rangers, where he won five straight titles in the 1990s.
Docherty’s six goals from midfield have caught the eye of his employers north of the border, who are keeping close tabs on his spell in Shropshire.
“What Stuart did for Rangers was great. If I could have anywhere near the career at Rangers I’d be delighted,” Town’s on-loan midfielder said of McCall, who also had a spell in charge of Rangers in 2015. “He was a great player. I’ve known him from his time in management at Motherwell.
“He always has his team well-drilled and they know what they’re doing.”
English shot-stopper Alnwick was linked with a transfer to Shrewsbury in the summer.
Docherty added of his Ibrox colleague: “I know the goalkeeper well, he’s on loan from Rangers and I’ll be desperate to beat him.
“But as long as we get the win I’ll be happy.
“He’s a good friend and we had a good bit of banter in the first game.
“It’s good. He’s playing well, at the top of his game at the moment but as long as Shrewsbury win I’ll be happy.”
Docherty was only snapped up by Rangers in January but crammed a Scottish FA Cup final (4-0 defeat to Celtic) and two other Old Firms into his first six months.
But, after a double-header against Salford, where he scored a stunner in a keenly-contested replay, Docherty has already had a flavour of the magic south of the border.
“People talk of the magic of the FA Cup, it’s great,” he continued.
“This is a huge opportunity for us to progress and then you never know, we can see who we get in the third round. But we’re not looking too far ahead.
“They’ll be extremely difficult, well organised with a good manager. We’ve got to implement our gameplan.
“We were extremely disappointed after the Scunthorpe game earlier on in the season.
“It was a bit like the Wimbledon game (2-1 win after second-half rally), we never performed or turned up.
“For us it’s a good opportunity to get our own back against them, but they’ve got good players across the pitch.”
The Scot, who was watched by Robbie Fowler for Rangers chief Steven Gerrard in Tuesday’s win over Plymouth, has two goals in three games. He is an example of the talent assembled by former boss John Askey.
But on the improvement in recent weeks, he added: “We’re all going into each game with a smile on our faces, we’ve got a great squad and a great squad morale.
“We really are fighting for each other and sticking together. We want to get through Sunday and you never know what could happen.”
Scunthorpe United are in desperate need for some respite away from the toil of League One.
Stuart McCall seemed a decent appointment on the face of it at Glanford Park after the Iron sacked Nick Daws shortly into the season.
Three wins in four games during September – including the victory over Shrewsbury – had Scunthorpe looking up.
But a disastrous run of seven league defeats from nine has seen them leapfrogged by improving Salop and others in the League One pecking order.
There are now five places – albeit just three points – between the sides in the division. Scunthorpe have dropped to 20th, one place clear of the drop zone.
So some FA Cup joy could have the desired affect for McCall’s side as the boss eyes some relief and a halt to the poor form.
Scunthorpe negotiated a tricky tie in the first round by seeing off League One rivals Burton at home.
And they will be confident of an early-season double over Salop thanks to the manner of the victory over John Askey’s side.
Shrews showed little in attack that day and Lee Novak’s nous in front of goal was the difference between two off-colour sides.
But Shrewsbury are a different proposition in the near-three weeks they have spent under Danny Coyne since Askey’s sacking.
McCall has a couple of injury and suspension predicaments on his hands and will shuffle his pack for tomorrow’s second-round tie.
Forward Andy Dales hobbled off from Tuesday’s defeat at Southend with a groin problem. Left-back Lewis Butroid and influential midfielder Funso Ojo are also struggling with injuries and look set to be sidelined for the visitors.
To add insult to injury, experienced right-back James Perch was sent off after two yellow cards at Roots Hall and will be out suspended.
Matthew Lund and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson are two other concerns for McCall. Both have had foot problems but recent scans have showed no sign of breaks.
By contrast, settled Shrewsbury are not showing too many signs of wear and tear despite finding themselves amid a manic period of six games in 18 days.
Town should look at this tie as a golden ticket to progress to round three.
Was the best player on the pitch against Plymouth in midweek. His energy and quality seems to have gone up a level in recent games.
Quite simply, Novak is a goalscorer – and an experienced one at that. The 30-year-old netted the winner with a fine flick against John Askey’s Salop in September and has since scored five more, taking his season’s tally to eight. Wise with his movement and anticipation, a real threat to the Town defence.
Paul Hayes netted a 90th-minute winner as the Iron beat Town 2-1 at Glanford Park in the FA Cup first round of 2003. Jimmy Quinn scored for Shrews.
Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2 diamond):
Arnold; Bolton, Waterfall, Sadler (c), Beckles; Grant, Docherty, Colkett, Laurent; Amadi-Holloway, Okenabirhie.
Subs: Coleman (gk), Sears, Haynes, Loft, Eisa, Gilliead, John-Lewis.
Scunthorpe United (4-4-2):
Alnwick, McArdle (c), Goode, Burgess, Borthwick-Jackson, Thomas, Lund, Morris, Dales, Humphrys, Novak.